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Comment Re:Doesn't work that way (Score 1) 72

The concept of "offsetting" your bad behavior by purchasing carbon credits or investing in "green energy" is complete bullshit. It is the same concept that sociopaths use to justify their behavior. You can't buy your way to being good.

You know how to lose weight? By exercising. Even if you weigh 500 lbs and can only barely walk around the block once, by doing that pathetically inadequate one-block walk that you set up the conditions so that next week you can walk around the block twice, and next month you can walk several miles. Next year maybe you weigh only 300 lbs and can jog, and the year after that you've dropped to 180 lbs and can run a marathon.

Similarly, neither Apple nor any other industrial giant is going to be able to transition to 100% clean energy on day one. But they can start the transition, one small step at a time, and someday they'll get there, judgmental naysayers notwithstanding.

Comment Re:Resource Management - Death by Design. (Score 1) 483

I think you are underestimating the role that consumers play in their own downfall.

Cigarettes are bad for you, and everybody knows this, but millions of smokers buy them anyway. Nobody (outside of their own addiction) is forcing them to do so.

HCFS is bad for you, but it makes food taste better -- or at least, it makes people more likely to buy the food. So when company A adds HCFS, its sales increase, and if company B refuses to, it loses market share and might go out of business. Again, nobody is forcing consumers to buy foods with more HCFS, rather it turns out they do so on their own when given the choice.

I'm sure there are people in government (as well as in industry) who value maximizing profit over maximizing health, but they aren't the only bad actors here. There are many areas where people knowingly make health-negative decisions for themselves, simply because they value the short-term enjoyment more than the long-term health benefits.

I don't have any good solution to propose for that problem, but I think any workable solution will have to take that into account rather than just blaming all bad outcomes solely on the supply side.

Comment Re:Is malware like this proof of economic stagnati (Score 1) 204

Is the fact that people do this kind of really clever shit for more or less ordinary income, is it proof that the economy is in some way broken?

The economy undoubtedly is broken in many ways, but I think exploits like this are less about the economy and more about programmers getting bored and wanting to show off how clever they are; and if they can also make some money doing it, so much the better.

Comment Re:"self investigate" == alt.right (Score 1) 788

Why are we calling this "fake" news instead of "incorrect news" or "wrong news" or "wacko conspiracy theory"?

Because the "news" in question isn't just false, it's deliberately false and inflammatory. As in, made up out of whole cloth by trolls, just to wreak havoc, or by paid provocateurs, to drive gullible people towards advertisements by provoking them. The people behind the fake news are well aware that it is 100% fiction, and they don't care.

That's different from inadvertently getting a story wrong, and it's different from being genuinely insane and thereby sending out incorrect information that you honestly think is correct.

"Fake" is in fact the most accurate way to describe it. So if you're going to question other peoples' ulterior motives, what dark motives are you concealing?

Comment Re:Who's gonna pay for it? (Score 1) 538

The closest to an argument I've heard is we'll tax factory output instead of income, but that doesn't work. You'll be accused of seizing factories ala Communism.

No matter what you do you're going to be accused of something by the people who stand to benefit from the status quo. If you let the possibility of accusations veto a plan, then you'll never be able to plan anything; which is de facto equivalent to planning for the problem to be resolved (one way or another) for you via massive civil unrest.

"Tax the robots" is probably as close an answer as you're going to get to the "who's gonna pay for it" question. Elections are won on feelings, as you say, and I suspect there are going to be a lot of anti-robot feelings in the future, unless/until this problem is solved.

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 5, Insightful) 468

But WAIT A SECOND, while the pies and baskets have each fallen in value by a factor of ten, a pie is still worth ONE basket. So Abby and Betty can just continue life as before. The robots changed nothing.

The just-so story is pretty, but it's hard to take it seriously as a prediction of the future when it doesn't even predict the past accurately.

If I replace "robots" with "cheap foreign labor", can you explain why so many American manufacturers went out of business (or moved operations abroad) in the last few decades?

According to your theory, American companies should have been able to continue operating just as before ("the foreign workers changed nothing"), because one ton of American steel was still worth exactly one American-made car (or etc). But that isn't what happened, is it? Instead, many people lost their jobs and ended up either unemployed or working at less-desirable unskilled service jobs afterwards, because they were unable to compete with the cheaper/more efficient new foreign producers who didn't need to hire them.

Abby can just switch to making baskets

Can she "just switch"? Does Abby somehow already have the skills to make baskets, or the time and resources to learn those skills to the point where she can perform them at a commercially viable level? Switching to a completely different skill set is not without cost; not everyone can afford to spend months or years without any income while they retrain themselves. That's why so many previously-high-earning people end up "switching down" to something like Walmart cashier after the industry they trained for becomes non-viable.

So the most likely scenario is to put [the "losers"] on some sort of welfare until we can get riot control robots perfected

And here is exactly where the core of the problem lies. As the skill level of available automation rises, the pool of "losers" (i.e. people who aren't sufficiently skilled or adaptable to economically compete with cheap automation) gets larger every year, and eventually includes most (if not all) of the human population.

Dismissing that issue as a negligible corner case is ignoring the problem entirely. The fact that you think "riot control robots" are the endgame suggests that you do also see the problem; you just refuse to label it as a problem because you lack sympathy for "those people".

Comment Re:Police searches (Score 1, Informative) 243

Well I could sue the police and retire on the settlement. Its like winning the lottery only with a beatdown thrown in

You haven't been paying attention to the news much, have you? It's very rare that police officers are held accountable for misbehavior; society (for better or worse) gives them a lot of latitude. Police officers literally get away with murder(*) on a regular basis.

(*) or at least, actions that would definitely be called murder if anyone else did the same thing

Comment Re:Continuing the tradition (Score 3, Insightful) 468

I see that Hawking is continuing the tradition of world-renowned physicist commenting on things they have no specialty in.

Well, why shouldn't he? Everyone else on this thread is doing the exact same thing. Commenting on things you aren't an expert on is something just about everyone does, on a daily basis.

The only difference is that when we make a brilliant (or stupid) post to Slashdot, it doesn't get picked up by any news agency. If you find that troublesome, you ought to blame the news agencies, not Hawking.

Comment Re:Not mine. (Score 1) 468

No, your code generates code, or outputs it, or produces it. It doesn't "write" it, and provided you actually do write some code, this should be beyond obvious to you.

But he is writing much less code than someone would have had to write 20 or 30 years ago to get the same results. Now he can get the same amount of functionality implemented by himself that would have taken a whole team previously. Thus his company didn't have to hire so many programmers.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 2) 468

And exactly where does this *magic* money come from to pay out all this Universal Basic Income?

From taxing the profits of companies who have successfully used automation to drive their costs down to near-zero -- with negligible labor, their only costs are input materials, maintenance, and the electric bill.

The one good thing about a vast army of robot workers is that they can provide their owners with fantastic 24/7 productivity at low cost, and thus generate vast material wealth; the only question is whether that vast wealth will accumulate in the savings accounts of the 1% while everyone else starves, or whether some mechanism will be found to allow that wealth to benefit the rest of mankind so that civilized society can continue.

Comment Re:Too much to express here, but (Score 1) 468

How will it work if you have 90% unemployment? Simple, it won't be that way for long. You will have massive unrest, and all of the horrors that would entail.

And what are then eventual results of that unrest? Laws to ban robots so that low-paid humans get to do all the menial work instead, forever? I suppose that's a possibility, but the other (more sensible) outcome would be laws to tax the robots to fund training and/or subsidize employment for humans, so that the humans can find work in other (less-menial) areas that robots are not so good at.

(And the end-game of that, when robots and AIs are finally better than humans at absolutely everything, would be that the training/employment programs would end up supporting humans in "jobs" that are really hobbies; e.g. dance instructor or pottery making. And that would be a fine outcome IMO)

Comment Re:Why is this guy still talking (Score 1) 468

What DOES (apparently) take an expert, is to see that they are wrong this time too, for mostly the same reasons.

Can you find me such an expert? I'd very much like to understand what kind of gainful employment the blue-collar workers of today and white-collar workers of tomorrow can look forward to in our future AIs-and-robots-do-all-the-work-better-and-cheaper-than-humans-can paradise.

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